A girl is having fun with her dog in bed - ADHD concept

What Are the Best Pets for Children With ADHD?

8 min read

Does your kid have ADHD? Then a decision to adopt a pet might be a good one. Believe it or not but the unshakable loyalty and unconditional love granted by a little companion often give ADHD children good chances to recover. And even if pet ownership doesn’t bring immediate results, it will definitely boost your kid’s spirits and will greatly improve his feeling of responsibility. 

However, which type of animal will suit your kid’s needs best of all? Indeed, before you bring a pet home, it’s better to weigh up the pros and cons of each option on offer. Take your time and think of which pet your kid will be glad to see at home most of all. 

To narrow down your choices, read everything you need to know about how ADHD children can benefit from pet ownership and which pets are best for this purpose.

A girl is sleeping with a pet dog in bed.
It's good to choose the right pet a kid will be most comfortable with.

Verified benefits of pets for ADHD

Even though there is no clear proof that interaction with pets produces perceptible health effects in children suffering from ADHD, many studies say that visible improvement is still possible. Anyway, there are good reasons to believe in the healing properties of such therapy. 

The very fact that you have a pet in your house can bring many benefits to your child if he has ADHD. And you’ll soon see positive changes in his emotional state. The list of verified reasons why this therapy often brings desirable effects for the health of kids with ADHD includes the next points:

  • Taking care of a pet boosts your kid’s feeling of responsibility.
  • It improves management skills (your kid will make plans ahead of time as for when and at what intervals to feed the pet and take care of it).
  • Taking the pet for a walk or playing with it gives plenty of chances to get rid of excess energy.
  • Pets are non-judgmental so your kid’s furry friend will always provide unconditional love, support, and companionship to its handler.
  • Spending time with the pet or cuddling with it greatly decreases the levels of anxiety, emotional pressure, and stress.
  • Pets help ADHD kids to socialize (animals often draw the attention of people so they can become a good enough reason to start a conversation).
  • Caring for a little friend will make your kid more empathic and this is where children with ADHD often face problems.

However, before you take the pet home and see any results, it’s essential to think of which type of animal is likely to bring maximum benefit in your circumstances. All pets are great companions but perhaps a particular type of animal may suit your child’s tastes and needs better than any other. 

A mom and her daughter are choosing a pet.
Parents should consider all the pros and cons before choosing a pet for emotional support.

What kind of pet to choose for an ADHD child?

When it comes to choosing a pet for a child with ADHD, the first thing you should understand is that any type of animal may have a positive effect on your child’s health. 

No matter what animal you select, the most important goal is to make sure that there is a strong emotional bond between a pet and its young handler to make both of them happy with each other’s company. This will automatically result in the visible improvement of your kid’s psychological health.

Choosing a particular type of pet may not be an easy task. For a start, it’s best to talk to your child about his preferences and ask him if:

  1. He wants to walk with his pet and play active games regularly 

If that’s what your kid needs most, getting a pet dog would be a wise choice and hopefully, you’ll soon see positive results which will definitely increase your kid’s chances for recovery.  

Dog benefits:

  • They love you unconditionally
  • They are always happy to see you 
  • Dogs are great at protecting their owners from harm
  • They are ready to engage in energetic activities with their owners which is very important for kids with ADHD
  • Dogs are very loyal and devoted creatures that will never betray their owners
  • Dogs are good listeners and great companions
  • Caring for a dog adds an extra purpose in life
  • No doubt, a dog is a man’s best friend so why not get your kid a loyal canine friend for a company? In fact, it’s not just fun to have a dog at home but it may also help your kid get perceptible relief from emotional problems. 

A girl is walking with her dog.
A dog is a good companion and friend that is engaged in all activities.

  1. He wants a cute fluffy pet to cuddle with and spend loads of time at home

If so, getting a cat would be a good idea. Feline creatures are always a preferable choice for children suffering from psychological problems. The reason is quite obvious – cats are perfect stress relievers so a feline friend can help your kid overcome depression and other emotional troubles better than any other animal. And this is an important consideration if your child has ADHD. 

Cat benefits:

  • Cats are fluffy and cuddly
  • They are great stress relievers
  • The risk of allergy is minimized
  • Cat’s purring has a soothing effect and is good for one’s health
  • Petting and snuggling with a cat helps kids to feel emotionally better 
  • Although cats are independent creatures, they still show much affection for their handlers which is also important for kids with ADHD
  • Cats look cute and adorable

If your kid loves cats more than the rest of animals, taking a feline friend home may become your next best choice. And perhaps it will also help to mitigate the signs of your kid’s disorder. At long last, as soon as you bring a cute and fluffy cat home, your kid will definitely feel much better and happier all along.

A girl is holding a pet dog in her hands.
Cats are fluffy and adorable, they're great stress relievers.

  1. He loves birds and doesn’t feel uncomfortable when thinking of cleaning the droppings out of the bird’s cage

If he thinks it would be great to have a bird at home and there is nothing wrong with taking proper care of it, it may just as well become a perfect pet for your kid. 

Bird benefits:

  • Birds are small and not very demanding 
  • They have a long life span
  • They can help your kid get rid of stress
  • They keep one’s mind sharp and can instantly distract a person from any negative thoughts 
  • Birds are not very hard to take care of
  • Birds improve social interaction and can teach your kid to be empathic
  • They don’t require much living space
  • If your kid doesn’t mind his pet being not very playful or eager to socialize, getting a bird wouldn’t be a bad idea. Birds don’t require too much care and they may give your child good chances to achieve improvement in his emotional state.   
  1. He wants an unusual animal to be not like anyone else

Of course, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to take an unusual or exotic pet home. But as long as it helps your kid minimize the symptoms of his disorder, it may still be a good idea to bring a not very common animal into your home. 

Benefits of uncommon pets:

  • They’ll instantly teach your kid responsibility because they are often harder to take care of
  • Most exotic pets need only a small living space so they wouldn’t occupy a large area in your home
  • Most of them are hypoallergenic 
  • They can be a great distraction from emotional problems
  • They don’t need to be walked but your kid may still have loads of fun with his new companion
  • They usually live longer than traditional pets like cats and dogs 
  • Your kid will learn a lot of amusing and useful things from them. 

A girl is holding iguana in her hands.
A choice of a pet for emotional support is not limited to cats or dogs.

In this way, to make sure you choose the right type of animal that your child will be happy to see at home, it’s best to first find out which animals he likes most of all. And perhaps taking one of them home will soon change your kid’s life for the better. 

What things to consider before getting a pet for your ADHD child?

Learning more about your child’s preferences and tastes regarding pet ownership is an important step that will help you select the right pet for therapeutic purposes. But an equally important thing is to evaluate how well the pet will suit the tastes of the rest of your family. 

A playful and active dog may be a great choice for a child with ADHD but it’s also important to consider such things as:

  • How much time your child is ready to dedicate to taking good care of his pet
  • Whether you are ready to add a demanding pet into the family
  • How much money you are able to invest in pet ownership
  • How caring and loving your kid is toward animals (at a young age, kids may accidentally or unintentionally cause harm to animals)
  • How responsible your child is and whether or not he is ready to take extra responsibility.

These and other considerations will help you understand which type of animal is likely to become the best match for your child. 

A woman is at a shelter to adopt a dog.
Parents should calculate all the expenses and plan their time to take care of a new pet the proper way.

Key Takeaways

By now, you’ve probably weighed up all pros and cons and made a firm decision to bring a pet into your home. The good news is that there is no clear answer to the question of which types of pets suit the needs of children with ADHD best of all. 

But a great thing about having any pet at home is that your kid will always find understanding when interacting with his little friend. Companionship and psychological help are guaranteed at all times. This will let your kid feel constant emotional support whenever he is in a bad mood or when something goes wrong at school and he just has a bad day. 

In these and other situations, the pet will welcome your kid warmly and offer emotional help whenever it’s needed most. All this is likely to produce the right effect on your child’s psychological state. And perhaps this is exactly what will help him fight the signs of ADHD successfully.

by GetESA

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ESA 101: Educational